A summer of music, film and much more: Byre In The Botanics launches for 2016

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A new series of outdoor events is coming to St Andrews this summer featuring a mix of live music, films, family fun and more.

The Byre in the Botanics festival will run in the town from the end of June until early August, and there are plans for it to become an annual event.

Samantha Barks

Samantha Barks

A special 1000-seater outdoor stage at the St Andrews Botanic Garden will feature a range of events, with the Byre Theatre also hosting performances.

A broad spectrum of film, music, comedy and dance opens with Samantha Barks, star of Les Miserables and Cabaret, celebrating the launch of her new album at her only Scottish date this year.

Other top names appearing at the festival will include firm favourite Barbara Dickson appearing alongside her friend of 40 years Rab Noakes, and jazz musician Jacqui Dankworth, performing her father’s – Johnny Dankworth – album ‘Shakespeare and all that Jazz’.

Capercaillie, one of the world’s most successful Celtic music acts will be making an appearance as will Scottish five-piece Breabach. Breabach was nominated for best band at the Radio 2 Folk Awards.

Opera Up Close will perform Bizet's tale of romantic obsession Carmen

Opera Up Close will perform Bizet's tale of romantic obsession Carmen

The main stage will also host dance acts as well.

The internationally acclaimed JSLN, from Berlin, will be presenting a new show entitled Variations on Point, which is said to encompass “all aspects of ballet: grace, elegance and entertainment” and Oliver-award winning opera company OperaUpClose will be bringing two different shows to the town.

As they festival reaches its climax they will perform two shows – Bizet’s Carmen and they will mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death with a performance of songs, operatic arias and ensembles inspired by his plays and poetry with ‘Shakespeare in Love, in Lust, in Loathing, in Laughter... and all in Music’.

On the big screen there will be major productions live-streamed from Shakespeare’s Globe and Glyndebourne and showings of classic films with a twist.

The season closes with Glasgow theatre company Bard in the Botanics presenting a new version of Macbeth. A spokesman for the troupe said: “Scotland’s biggest and best-loved Shakespeare company are delighted to be returning to St Andrews with an electrifying new version of one of his most popular and enduring plays.”

As well as food for the soul at the festival, a cafe will offer snack, including local strawberries and cream or cultural gourmets will be able to enjoy the champagne and wine bar.

This is the first in what is planned to be an annual season of events for the Byre Theatre, adding to the venue’s year round programme of events, shows, conferences and music.

Dr Michael Downes, artistic director of the Byre Theatre, described it as an “exciting venture” for the town and the theatre.

“I think it encourages us to bring together the local audiences and the large number of tourists that come to St Andrews,” he said.

“On a large stage and by using the outdoor space it allows us to bring bigger acts.

“Because it is outside, it allows audiences to mix in a way that is not really possible indoors.

“We hope this becomes an annual event and hope that it will bring people to the town.

“We always felt there was potential for a summer festival in St Andrews, so to get it underway is an exciting venture.”

Byre in the Botanics runs from June 30 to August 5 and tickets are on sale from today (Friday) at the Byre, or online at www.standrewsbyreinthebotanics.com.

The Line-up

30 June - Samantha Barks in her only Scottish date this year

1 & 2 July - JSLN Dance from Berlin with Variations on Pointe

8 July - Jacqui Dankworth re-visiting her father Sir John Dankworth’s jazz album Shakespeare and All that Jazz

9 July - Breabach, nominated for Best Band at the Radio 2 Folk Awards

22 July - Barbara Dickson with her friend of 40 years Rab Noakes

29 July - Opera Up Close make their Scottish debut

30 July - A night of operatic arias and Shakespeare poetry

5 & 6 August - Bard in the Botanics with a version of Macbeth